Negligible impacts | Parisian riots puncture myth generated by ’98 triumph

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Paris | Expanded comments from France and Juventus defender Lilian Thuram concerning the riots and arson attacks in suburban areas have appeared in the Times of London and elsewhere. He criticized remarks from France interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who had called rioters “scum” and taken a hard-line stance.

“I grew up in a [housing] estate, too,” said Thuram,

but I am not scum. People used to say the same thing to me. What I wanted was to find work…. Violence never happens for no reason. You have to understand where the malaise comes from. Before talking about law and order, you have to talk about social justice.

In advance of Saturday’s friendly against Germany in the Stade de France, Simon Kuper assesses the impact of the 1998 World Cup–winning side in creating a tolerant society. The impact appears negligible. “This idea of integration by football was an illusion,” says Patrick Mignon of Institut National du Sport et de l’Education Physique, the national sports institute.

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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